GNN: Strawberry Lemonade Pops – guys these are so good

Seriously these are so good. Rarely have I imagined making something and imagined how good it would be, and they turned out exactly how I wanted.

So perfectly refreshing, so perfect for eating on a warm summer evening

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

I didn’t use a recipe for this one, but it turned out much better than my last improvisation.

This is what I used:

  • ~2 cups fresh strawberries/10 medium strawberries, tops cut off
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 leaves of basil (I couldn’t taste these except in the last popsicle, so I must not have blended it quite thoroughly

This made 4 popsicles

You can of course, adjust the proportions to taste if you decide to make them.

Nutrition Qualities

  • 1 serving of fruit in each popsicle
  • Strawberries: excellent source of vitamin C, and a pretty good source of fiber
  • With the lemon juice, you’ll get even more vitamin C – this is classically known for being good for immunity, but it also is a vital part of how your body literally holds itself together (it regulates collagen synthesis)
  • The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit added sugars to less than 6 (for women) to 9 (for men) teaspoons a day – if you make 4 popsicles from the amounts above, each popsicle will only have 3 teaspoons added sugar
  • Naturally dairy and gluten-free. Vegan depending on the sweetener you use.

My personal rating

5/5

A great way to use summer strawberries, a delicious serving of fruit, sooo refreshing, exactly what I was wishing for.

Happy eating!

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Good Nutrition News: Key Lime Pie Popsicles

I watched this SORTEDfood video before making these popsicles, so I had been imagining delicious tart key lime flavor for several days when I made these.

I expected to like them because I love limes, but I wasn’t expecting them to taste so much like key lime pie!

Key Lime Popsicles from Happy Kids Kitchen!

light green popsicle with crumbs in it

The ingredients are lime, avocado, milk (whatever kind), sweetener, vanilla, salt, and graham crackers (for the crust). I used granola instead of graham crackers because I didn’t have any.

For the full recipe, and for how they look with the actual graham crackers, look here: https://happykidskitchen.com/healthy-key-lime-pie-popsicles/

Nutrition Qualities

  • This recipe gets its creaminess from fatty avocado, which as established in previous posts, is a good source of unsaturated fat, which is known as heart healthy fat.
  • If you use regular dairy milk OR even any fortified nondairy milk, you’ll get a good serving of calcium and possibly some vitamin D (good for bone and teeth health)
  • Both avocado and milk are good sources of potassium – an important electrolyte
  • Can be dairy-free, gluten free and/or vegan depending on which milk and sweeteners you use (and which graham crackers you use for gluten-free)

My personal rating

5/5

Surprisingly similar to key lime pie, a great balance of tart and sweet, the avocado and milk combine to make them deliciously creamy, and they’re pretty easy to make. And you only need 1 lime!

Happy eating!

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Good Nutrition News: Rich Chocolate Avocado Pops

This has been my favorite popsicle so far. Ok it’s only the second one, but it’s good. If you like fudgesicles or if you grew up eating homemade popsicles made from chocolate pudding, you’ll probably like this one:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Popsicles

Chocolate pudding popsicle

The recipe, from Chocolate Covered Katie, isn’t even a popsicle recipe. It’s just for a chocolate avocado mousse, which is also delicious in its non popsicle form. But as a popsicle? It’s even creamier and richer than I remember fudgesicles being.

The ingredients are avocado, cocoa powder, sweetener of choice, and milk of choice, vanilla, salt. Blend them up and put them in your popsicle molds and freeze them!

Nutrition Qualities

  • This recipe involves 2 avocados, and for me, it made about 4 and a half popsicles. That means each pop contains about 1/2 an avocado, which you can totally count as a serving of fruits/vegetables
  • Avocados are a good source of unsaturated fat, which is known as heart healthy fat. The fat is also what makes these popsicles so creamy and rich
  • From my estimates (depending on the size of the avocados and how many servings are made), each pop could provide around 20% of your daily fiber needs for the day
  • Dark chocolate/cocoa is a source of antioxidants and has been shown to help lower blood pressure in some cases
  • Similar to the last ones I tried, they are gluten-free
  • Can be dairy-free and/or vegan depending on which milk and sweeteners you use

My personal rating

5/5

Easy to make, tasty, rich and chocolately, full of healthy fats and antioxidants, and a good way to use up avocados that will go bad soon!

Happy eating!

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Make snacks work for you: How to use snacks to achieve your own ends (even if that’s world domination)

Snacking for real humans part 3

Blueberries and salt and vinegar almonds – two of my favorite snacks

Snacks are tools. Make them work for you!

One of the most useful and effective tools that I used while providing outpatient nutrition counseling is called motivational interviewing. It’s based on asking questions to find out what motivates the client/patient and working from that motivation to decide what changes to make alongside the client. Not just telling the client what changes to make.

This is also what nutrition for real humans is all about. You are a real human with a real unique life. You are the expert in what’s going on in your life. You know what’s important to you. Your snacks should reflect that. So…

What do you want your snacks to do for you? What are you looking for from your snack?

This can change from day to day or from snack to snack. There’s no one right answer, and it might be more than one answer. Knowing what you want can make sure you choose the snack that will fulfill that purpose. The right tool for the job.

Here are some things you might want a snack to help you accomplish:

  • Have more energy
  • Gain weight
  • Get more protein
  • Eat more fruits
  • Not be bored
  • Satisfy a craving
  • Have more stable blood sugar
  • Avoid being so hungry that you buy the entire snack aisle at the grocery store
  • Avoid being so hungry that you can’t make a decision about dinner so you end up putting it off until you have a headache so you just eat a bowl of ice cream and go to bed
  • Eat more whole grains
  • Eat more fiber
  • Lose weight
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Procrastinate
  • Drink more water
  • Try new foods
  • Waste less food
  • Feel better about a bad experience
  • Have enough energy and brain power for world domination

When you know what you want your snack to do for you, you can choose a snack that will be a good tool for the job

Having more than one thing that you want your snack to do can help you narrow down your options even more!

Let’s take an example: you are craving something salty and also want to increase your fiber intake. How about some salted nuts? Or some whole grain crackers? Veggies and ranch to dip? Or maybe you actually really want chips. So you have a little chips to satisfy the craving and you also eat an orange to get the fiber.

Another example: You want to be more hydrated and eat more vegetables. These go really easily together because vegetables have a high water content. Sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, snap peas, sliced bell peppers, salad, any of these would satisfy both goals.

You want to eat more fruit and have more energy at work, so you plan ahead by buying some portable and tasty dried mango to take with you

dried mango slices in a blue bowl

Sometimes you may need to prioritize one goal.

For example, you are really craving a donut, but you also have the goal of eating more fruits and you haven’t eaten any fruits yet today, so you prioritize the fruit goal and eat some grapes. Or you decide to prioritize the donut craving and eat some fruit later.

This is me eating a delicious sour cream donut. To be honest, I don’t remember if there was any fruit prioritizing, I’m just including this picture to break up the text

Or you need to eat something so that you don’t have a panic attack at work, but none of the vending machine snacks meet your avoiding sugar goal. But you REALLY don’t need to be having a panic attack at work, so you make the lowest sugar choice from the vending machine. (And maybe you buy a stash of snacks that DO meet your goal to keep in your locker for next time)

Or you’d love to eat an organic snack that doesn’t leave packaging waste but what you can afford is not either of those things, and you need to eat at regular intervals to manage your blood sugar and stay alive. Staying alive takes priority here.

Sometimes what’s available doesn’t meet all our snack needs, so we need to prioritize. But knowing what those goals are can help us choose the best snack from what’s there.

Sometimes the right snack is not a snack.

Sometimes when you determine why you want a snack you can decide that a snack isn’t actually what you were looking for. You needed a break from work or some comfort after a stressful phone call. Sometimes a snack can provide those things, but you may, once you know that’s what you’re looking for, decide you have a better solution.

This is for you if you don’t like snacks:

Maybe you don’t want snacks to do anything for you. Maybe you don’t like snacks or don’t like to eat between meals. That’s totally fine. Snacks are not required. You do you.

Principle 3 of snacking for real humans:

Know what you want a snack to do for you, then choose the right tool for the job.

If that’s world domination, then you’re going to need some nourishing snacks.

What do you want your snacks to do for you?

As are all of the posts in this blog, none of this is intended as medical or nutrition advice and is for educational purposes only. Speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist or your primary care provider if you have questions about your specific nutrition needs.

Snacks are not a weakness. They can actually make you healthier.

Snacking for real humans part 2

Also this post contains brief discussion of calories so if reading about that will be a struggle, maybe skip this post 🙂

Snacking is totally valid and anyone who says otherwise can go eat a snack*.

Have you ever felt that snacking between meals was a weakness? Something you give into because you aren’t strong enough to wait until the next meal? Or something you eat because you didn’t have time to make lunch or were super busy and didn’t feel like eating earlier and now you are starving? Something that messes up your healthy meal plan?

Do you feel guilty about eating snacks?

And even if you don’t, I have good news:

Snacks can make you healthier

This study, done in 19,427 adults, found that more frequent eating (higher number of meals/snacks per day) was associated with a higher score on the Healthy Eating Index 2010. The Healthy Eating Index is a tool that measures how close to the USDA healthy eating guidelines someone’s eating is – things like servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, etc.

The TLDR: people who eat snacks generally meet more of their nutrient goals!

That study was done in adults, but there was also one done in children that showed similar results. And actually, dietitians recommend feeding small children multiple snacks a day because they need so many nutrients to fuel their growth and activity that they can’t fit it into 3 meals!

Count your snacks

A different study of data from 14,263 adults, and found that on average, 18-24% of calories eaten in a day came from snacks. (That’s about 1 in 5 in case you prefer ratios to percentages). That is a pretty big portion of daily energy intake! If you eat snacks every day, they are a big part of your nutrition – so you should count them, and make them count!

Now listen before I go any further, this is not to say that we should be eating fewer calories from snacks. (Or that everyone should be counting calories.) I only bring up the 18-24% to show that snacks can be a big portion of what we eat!

TLDR: On average, about 1/5 of our dietary intake comes from snacks

Now, you can take this one way and be like, oh no, I must only eat carrots and hummus for my snacks because I have to count those calories. NO. I mean, if you’re counting calories then, yes, you have to count those calories. But thinking you should only eat low-calorie snacks is making snacks seem like a bad thing that you are trying to minimize.

You need calories. Calories are just a measurement of energy we get from the food we eat – something that we all need to be living, functioning humans.

Snacks are one of the ways we can get energy (calories) from food. You should count them as part of your daily energy intake. And you should think of them as ways to get the nutrients you need.

Make snacks count: Are there nutrition goals you are overwhelmed by?

  • 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day
  • 3 servings calcium-rich food
  • 8 glasses of water/day
  • 25-35 grams fiber a day
  • x grams of protein per day
  • more antioxidants, more iron, etc.

Take into account your snacks when thinking about those goals. You might find you are closer to meeting them than you thought.

Sometimes because a snack is not a meal, it doesn’t fit into the “what I ate today” box. It gets forgotten or just doesn’t get taken into account. If you count the trail mix that you snack on when you’re hungry in the car, you might find you are eating more fiber than you thought. If you count your night cheese, you might find you are closer to your calcium goals than you thought.

This can go both ways of course, a few of those studies did note that most sweets and sweetened beverages were eaten as snacks, so maybe you’ll find that you are eating more sodium or sugar than you thought and need to adjust a little so you can meet your goals

If there’s a goal you aren’t quite meeting, think of how you can leverage a snack to get there. Can you add a glass of milk or a cheese stick to get more calcium? Can you choose a whole grain granola bar or a handful of nuts to get to your fiber goal?

Anyway, remember this 2nd part of snacking for real humans:

Snacks are not a weakness. They are just a part of your nourishment and can make you healthier! Own those snacks!

*If you don’t like to eat snacks and are happy with just eating meals, and you’re meeting your nutrition goals, no worries. It’s not required to eat snacks. Unless your dietitian or doctor tells you otherwise. This whole blog post is not medical or nutrition advice for you and is for informational purposes only. If you have questions, speak with a registered dietitian or doctor.

Any food can be a snack. Don’t overthink it.

Snacking for real humans part 1

What is a snack? What foods count as “snack foods?”

According to the dictionary, a snack is:

“a light meal : food eaten between regular meals also : food suitable for snacking”

merriam-webster.com

In other words, a snack is any food you eat that you don’t consider a meal.

Cubed watermelon on a hot afternoon? A refreshing snack

Those chocolate-chip granola bars you keep in your car? Snack

Your post-workout protein shake? Snack

An evening bag of popcorn? A delicious snack

A little bit of salad leftover from lunch? Also a snack

An apple with peanut butter? Snack

Bag of chips from the vending machine at work? That is a snack

Leftover rotisserie chicken you eat cold right out of the refrigerator because you needed a little something? Definitely a snack

Cup of milky tea and a muffin in the afternoon? One of my favorite snacks

What should you eat for a snack? That depends on what you have available, why you’re eating a snack, what sounds good, so many different factors. We can talk about that more later. But don’t worry about if foods fall into the “snack” category.

Snacking for real humans part 1:

Any food can be a snack

Don’t overthink it 🙂 What do you like to snack on?